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Category Archives: Bicycle Resources

Bicycle Resources

Bike Rentals: Fun Day Trips in Portland

Here at Pedal Bike Tours, we often rent bicycles to people who are only in town for a day or few. Portland is famously bicycle-friendly, so when people want to ride, they often come to us for a bike rental. We have a well-maintained fleet of nearly a hundred bicycles that can accommodate adults and children of any size. We’ve put babies in trailers all the way to NBA star LeBron James on one of our tallest bicycles.  Just today we fulfilled someone’s lifelong dream of riding a bicycle built for two!

Pedal on the Willamette River Loop

One of the most popular rides for bike rentals starts just a couple blocks from Pedal Bike Tours on the Willamette River. We give great directions on our bike map of Portland when you drop in, but you can also follow the city map (pdf) of this suggested route. Once you are on the river, we direct you north to cross the bike & pedestrian level of the Steel Bridge (pictured below), and then south along the Eastbank Esplanade to Oaks Bottom. Oaks Bottom is a wildlife refuge with a bike path running through it. From there, you can turn around and head back on either side of the river.  Riding along the river is great because these days, it’s a car-free experience!  

Steel bridge: Ideal place to ride a rental bike

View of Steel Bridge bike/ped undercrossing from above.  Photo credit: Steve Morgan

Ride bikes up to the Rose Garden

Another popular ride we recommend for tourists renting bikes at Pedal Bike Tours is the ride through downtown Portland, up the hill, and into the Washington Park International Rose Test Garden.  We can mark up a bike map and send you on your way!  Here is a self-guided tour (pdf) at the Rose Garden.   While you’re up in Washington Park, you can also consider stopping in at the Japanese Gardens.

Rent a bicycle and ride to the Rose Garden

International Rose Test Garden. Can you spot the bicycle? Photo Credit: PiccoloNamek


Portland is a great city for bike rentals and we look forward to seeing you next time you’re in town!

Free Rides with Pedal Bike Tours!

If you love art and bikes, you’ll have a blast on one of our monthly guided bike rides to the art galleries of Portland’s Pearl District and the SE neighborhoods.  On the first Thursday and Friday of the month the Pearl and SE galleries stay open late and offer free food and drink.  Not to be outdone, we’re providing bikes and helmets for free on the ride.  So stop by our shop and come ride with us!  We will be leaving at 6pm and returning at 9pm. Check out our calendar for specific dates.

First Thursday Ride
1 – 3 miles to the Pearl District art galleries, flat terrain
First Thursday Information
Pearl Gallery Map

First Friday Ride
5 – 10 miles to SE Portland art galleries, a few small hills
First Friday Information
SE Art Galleries Map

Questions?  Call 503-877-2453.

Cheers,
Pedal Bike Tours
133 SW 2nd Ave.
Portland, OR 97204
www.pedalbiketours.com

We Rode, We Donuted, We Pinballed!

Gathered For The Ride

Gathered For The Ride

Woo hoo!  Last Saturday approximately 15 pinball/bike riding fans rolled out of the shop and hit the streets to go in search of some fun.  Led by our staff pinball wizard Miles, we hit the road en-masse on our way to four stops around the city.

Outside Red Flag

Outside Red Flag

We left the shop and headed east, through the quiet streets and mansions of Irvington, our longest ride of the tour.  On the edge of the Laurelhurst neighborhood we found our first stop, Red Flag.  The fact that’s it’s a relatively new bar with four pinball machines goes to show how popular pinball still is.

Keeping right on schedule we hopped back on our steel steeds and shot the short distance to our next stop, The Standard.  Another newish bar, The Standard is tucked cozily away off the main drag of Burnside.  Once you pass through the patio into the bar you’re greeted by five gleaming machines of pinball beautaceausness!

Working It

Working It

After several quarters worth of ‘balling we tackled the deepening gloom with one thought in our heads, donuts!  Past the former headquarters of Jantzen swimwear we pedaled at top speed to reach the second incarnation of that purveyor of deep fried delights, Voodoo II.  The line was so long we had to take turns standing in line and playing games.  A few pinheads even decided to try their skills at the bubble hockey table.  Lucky, lucky Laura (she of the “Bile” t-shirt) actually got the VERY LAST Bacon Maple Bar!  Now that’s some good ju-ju!

mmm, Bile

mmm, Bile

Stomachs fortified by dough and heads buzzing from sugar we rode through the Lloyd district back to our own dear neighborhood and into our last stop Billy Ray’s Neighborhood Dive.  When was the last time you visited a bar set in an old house with the entire second floor devoted to pinball?  That’s right, we moved in, took over and ‘balled until we were spent.  (Bonus, the Blazers beat the Mavericks on the tv behind us).

In time, some pinners moved reluctantly on to other pursuits while others were still pounding the flippers way into the wee hours.

Great tour everyone thanks for coming!

See more photos here.

You Must Concentrate, Grasshopper

You Must Concentrate, Grasshopper

Cargo Bikes

Holly is unimpressed with being treated as cargo

Holly is unimpressed with being treated as cargo

So I’m walking down the sidewalk when I sense a presence behind me. I turn around and there, like the mythic Yeti, is an apparition much heard of but seldom seen, it’s Phil from Metrofiets riding one of his handbuilt in Portland cargo bikes.

Phil is actually coming to the shop to show us what is only the third of their new creations. You can certainly understand why there’s only three, the thing is almost 10 feet long and features a wooden box mounted in the middle, big enough to hold almost 2 adults, or 2 kegs. Phil says it will hold 200 pounds while still being easy to maneuver and up to 600 pounds maximum. He let me take it for a spin and it did take a moment to get the balance down (the key is to look where you’re going, not at the box!)

Ever since Clever Cycles brought the dutch cargo bike Bakfiets to Portland a couple of years ago, interest in these utilitarian bicycles has been growing. Over the last six months news of new companies and products has been springing up. The Xtracycle is a bolt on rear wheel which creates basically a long bicycle with a long rear rack. It’s been around for a while, but now there’s the Yuba Mundo, based on the same concept. Surly has also come out with their own version called the Big Dummy.

Cargo bikes have a bin mounted somewhere allowing you to put things in without securing them down like on a rack. In addition to Bakfiets and Metrofiets, which have the box mounted in front of the rider, a company called Madsen just began building their own version. Madsen’s bike has the box mounted behind the rider with a well in the middle for the rear wheel.

In Eugene, Oregon, the Center for Appropriate Transport has been making their own cargo bike for years. More recently, another Eugene company, CETMA is about to launch their own version. And last but not least out of Europe is the Long John, possibly the oldest of the cargo bikes.

The point is, while not new, cargo bikes are becoming hot in the US and it will be interesting to see where the interest goes. With a 200 pound cargo capacity they are excellent for much more than just a quick trip to the grocery store. People here in Portland are even using them to move with. Their growing popularity will allow more people to get out of their cars more often and further reduce our dependence on cars, which as you know, I think is great!

Portland Bicycle Counts 2008

Very exciting stuff! The numbers are out and, yet again, a lot more people are riding bikes in Portland than ever before. Some highlights:

• Compared to 2007, overall bicycle use in Portland increased 28%.
• Bicycles represent 13% of all vehicles on the four bicycle friendly Willamette River bridges.
• Bicycle traffic in Portland has nearly tripled since 2001.
• Bicycle counts conducted in March 2008 were approximately half those of the summer, but are
nearly identical to the summer counts recorded in 2002.

The people are speaking and city government is listening; people want it to be easier to get around by bike and the city is providing programs and infrastructure to match.

It’s really stirring to stand in any one of the highest traffic spots and watch the swirl of bikes zip past, each one carrying someone with, if not a smile, at least the look of satisfaction which comes from getting some fresh air, exercise and moving yourself somewhere without the use of an engine.

This, along with the knowledge that the more people who ride, the more will join, gives me spasms of joy. This town is increasingly bicycle crazy. Have we hit critical mass? I think that’s an arguable point, double digit increases for the last 4 years is awfully impressive but can it continue, or even increase? Maybe, either way it’s very exciting to watch and wonder.

In other news, I saw an article in today’s Oregonian about redeveloping inner city strip malls into mixed use retail and residential communities. The article claims the combination of the large flat lots on main arterial streets on public transportation and the preexisting utilities make older strip malls, which at a certain age need to be redeveloped anyway, the perfect place to accomodate the more than 1 million people expected to move to Portland over the next twenty years.
Their placement on public transport routes would allow developers to put in less parking and more shops and apartments and bring in more residents, many of whom would surely ride bicycles! I myself have been watching a set of apartments being built on top of a row of elegant older shops with brick facades, a strip mall is just the next logical step.

Oregon Tours

1 (503) 243-2453 info@pedalbiketours.com
133 sw 2nd avenue portland, or, 97204